Shutting down 'ghost gun' bans good for the Second Amendment

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

So-called ghost guns are terrifying to someone who doesn’t believe in private gun ownership. After all, if people can make their own guns, then gun control as a concept simply cannot exist in any meaningful way except to disarm the law-abiding. After all, if criminals can just make their own guns, that’s precisely who will be alone in complying with the laws.

A number of places have decided to ban such weapons, obviously not thinking about the fact that a ban won’t stop criminals from building these guns. One such state was Nevada.

However, that ban didn’t go particularly well, as Gabriella Hoffman noted in a recent op-ed:

In 2021, more Nevadans purchased firearms to take safety into their own hands than ever before. It’s too bad state lawmakers responded by passing legislation that criminalized custom gun makers and their customers. Thankfully, it didn’t stick — a Nevada district judge nullified key parts of the law earlier this month. As we head into the New Year, lawmakers should spend less time trying to strip law abiding citizens of their Second Amendment rights and focus instead on fighting actual crime.

Signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak earlier this year, Assembly Bill 286 singled out Polymer80, a company that sells unfinished receivers and tools for gun kits, maligning them as a maker of “ghost guns,” which they aren’t. Even worse, however, the new law intentionally criminalized both the company and its customers for selling and possessing “unfinished firearms frames or receivers,” respectively.

The judge who struck the bill down determined its vague definition of “unfinished frame or receiver” would cause the company “significant economic loss” and subsequently violate the due process clause of the Nevada State Constitution. In response to the ruling, Polymer80 CEO Loran Kelley declared, “AB286 is vague and unlawful legislation that targets our company specifically for conducting a lawful business. We will continue to challenge lawless attempts to curtail our rights and the rights of our customers.”

Scapegoating lawful firearms companies and buyers, but supporting parole for murderers with extensive criminal rapsheets, is hypocritical and dangerous. So much for prioritizing public safety in the Silver State. Why didn’t Nevada’s Democratic lawmakers instead channel their efforts to combating actual crimes involving firearms?

Of course, the reason for that is because that would involve them having to actually do something worthwhile for a change.

“But what about these guns being used in crime?”

Well, that’s certainly scary, and I know the media has fueled it with their stories about this “growing” threat, but the truth of the matter – a truth Hoffman also talks about in her piece – is that there isn’t really a threat.

As I’ve noted more than once, most of those stories about the supposed increase in “ghost guns” typically lack anything approaching context. If you recover two such weapons this year but recover four next year, that’s a 100 percent increase in the number of homemade firearms you’ve recovered. That will sound scary, sure, but when you’re talking about a major city like New York or Chicago, that’s not enough guns to create a statistical blip, much less represent an actual threat.

The truth is that our Second Amendment rights are only protected when the government leaves guns alone, regardless of how we opt to obtain them. Whether I want to buy one from a store or build one at home, that’s my constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms at work.

Plus, laws banning homemade firearms aren’t really going to accomplish much anyway. Lawmakers would be better served doing something productive for a change.

Too bad that isn’t going to happen.